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What is a Grammarly App?

Grammarly is basically an intelligent writing assistant that saves you proofreading time. It checks your grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and more. On top of that, it has a built-in plagiarism checker that’s handy for bloggers and content writers.

You can use Grammarly on WordPress, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and more, making it easier to spell-check your writing in real-time. However, as with any automatic tool, it has its share of setbacks. In this Grammarly review, we’ll look at the features, pros and cons, and price points.

Grammarly Premium Reviews & Ratings

In this article we have analysis all the features, pros and cons, other , how to steps, pricing info, and its best alternatives.

Grammarly User Interface

Since Grammarly is for everyone to use, it comes with a basic user interface that’s pretty easy to work through. When you open the app, you’re welcomed with a grid of your previous documents, or in a new account’s case, you’ll find a blank document that you can paste your content in for revision.

On the left, you’ll see your account’s settings, different Grammarly apps, and support.

Who Should Use Grammarly?

He is some common use cases of Grammarly:

Students to revise their writing and make sure their essays are mistake-free.

Professors to revise their papers and check for plagiarism.

Content writers spell-check their writing and optimize it.

Casual writers who occasionally write emails or articles.

Social media writers to spell-check their posts.

Non-native English speakers use it to enhance their writing skills and eliminate casual mistakes.

Key Features of Grammarly

Grammarly comes with a complete package of 11 key features. It offers four main checks: correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery.

Each one includes various checks; here’s a rundown:

Correctness: Spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Clarity: Full-sentence rewrites and conciseness.

Engagement: Tone suggestions and word choice check.

Delivery: Writing impression on the reader.

Here’s an complete overview of Grammarly’s key features:

Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation: Grammarly basically does the proofreading steps for you. So, you don’t have to reread your work and chase tiny mistakes, use Grammarly, and it’ll point out all mistakes that have to do with spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Edit Suggestions: Instead of only pointing out your mistake, Grammarly gives you editing suggestions. For example, if it points out an incorrect comma, it’ll tell you whether to put a semi-colon or a period in its place.

The same goes for wrong word choices, where it’ll suggest correct words instead of incorrect ones.

Explanation Cards: Grammarly doesn’t only point out your mistakes and gives you suggestions. It also explains these mistakes so you don’t fall into the same trap twice.

Full Report: Grammarly gives you a full report of the content you paste into the editor. This report includes the readability score, word count, and performance highlights. It also tells you the reading time of your content. And overall score of the Article.

Browser Extension: Grammarly offers a browser extension that functions almost like the website editor. It gives you all the Grammarly insights you need while writing. You can integrate it into Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari.

The good thing about the extension is that it corrects anything you write, including social media posts, emails, and even chat text in real time. So, you don’t have to copy your content and paste it everytime for checking.

Grammarly Keyboard for Phones:

If you’re using Grammarly from your phone, you can use its keyboard feature, which shows you suggestions based on what you’re writing in real time. The suggestions appear right above the letters.

Website Editor: The website editor is Grammarly’s main feature. You can upload your documents or copy and paste your content into the editor. It’ll show you all suggestions on the right side. The editor is easy to use and shows you all the suggestions at once, so it may be more convenient than the extension.

Desktop Button: Instead of opening the website editor every time you want to check something, you can use Grammarly’s desktop button.

All you have to do is install the button on your desktop. Then, whenever you want to check a document, drag it to the icon and start editing.

Plagiarism Detector: Grammarly has a built-in plagiarism detector that checks your content against 16 billion websites. However, it’s only available for the premium version.

Grammarly’s plagiarism detector shows that may seem plagiarised from other websites. This feature helps in catching clear plagiarism instances.

Language Preferences: Grammarly lets you choose between different dialects to give you accurate suggestions. You can choose from American, British, Australian, and Canadian dialects, and Grammarly will give you suggestions based on your choice.

How to Use Grammarly

Grammarly is one of the easiest tools to use; you only have to get a basic idea of the app before using it. Let me walk you through it:

Step 1) Sign Up

The first thing you need to do to use Grammarly is to sign up and create your account using Gmail, Facebook, or Apple.

Even if you’re using the free plan, signing up will allow the app to save your data, and then you can upgrade to the premium plan.

Step 2) Create a Document.

After signing up, you can create a new document.

When you log into your account, you’ll see the main screen. It’ll have a blank document labeled ‘New’ on the left.

Alternatively, you can upload a new document. Grammarly accepts docx, etf, txt, and odf files.

Step 3) Download the Accessories

Since you’ll start using Grammarly to revise your work, it’s better to get all the accessories that come with it.

You can download the browser extension, desktop application, and mobile application so you can check the quality of your writing wherever you are.

Step 4) Start Editing

Now, your written piece is ready inside the document. What’s left is to start editing it according to Grammarly’s suggestions.

The 5 Different Grammarly Apps

Grammarly operates through five different apps.

Here’s a roundup of how each Grammarly app works:

Grammarly Browser Extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox:

If you’re installing the Grammarly Chrome extension, you can pin it to the toolbar above, which makes it easier to turn it on and off.

Online Editor:

The online editor shows you all suggestions at once on the right panel, so it’s often preferred over the other ways to use Grammarly.

The suggestions will be divided into four main categories: correctness, clarity, delivery, and engagement. However, the delivery and engagement checks are only available for the premium version.

Microsoft Office Add-On: use Grammarly on your Microsoft Office programs, all you have to do is install its add-on. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1) Open Microsoft Word

Step 4) Type Grammarly’s name into the search and install it.

Grammarly Desktop App:

The Grammarly desktop app is useful for users who don’t always have their browsers open. You can use the app for faster access when you need to spell-check your work.

All you have to do is download and follow the instructions until the file installs. Once the application is ready, you’ll see the Grammarly button at the bottom of any writing application you use on your computer.

Mobile App: The Grammarly mobile app is smart, intuitive, and easier than ever to use. It’s basically a keyboard that keeps suggesting better word choices and correcting your mistakes as you write on your phone.

All you have to do to use the app is to download it. Then, log in to your Grammarly account, and every time you type something on your phone, the keyboard will show you suggestions.

The app will correct basic spelling mistakes and notify you about them in the bar above the keyboard. Meanwhile, it’ll only offer suggestions for sentence structure and word choice, and you’re free to either accept or dismiss them.

Grammarly Free vs. Grammarly Premium

The Grammarly free version is pretty useful for users looking for basic features on the other hand, Grammarly premium offers a full package.

Here are some basic differences between both versions:

Free Plan Premium Plan

Correcting basic grammar and spelling issues Plagiarism detector

Basic punctuation check Advanced grammar checks

Tone detector Complex punctuations checks

Language preferences Citation suggestions

Microsoft Office integration Readability and writing-style reports

Browser extension Tone suggestions

Grammarly Customer Support

Grammarly’s customer support is as good as customer support of similar tools can be. For the free plan, you can reach out to them through email, or you can get help from the chatbot that has answers to basic FAQs.

Note: For a live chat or phone support, you’ll have to subscribe to the premium plan.

Aside from the chatbot and email help, you can get Grammarly help through the variety of articles on their blog. These articles cover almost all factors related to Grammarly, like the difference between free and premium plans, tips for using the app, billing info, etc.

If you have any issue that needs troubleshooting, you can do it through the Help Center on the website.

Grammarly Pricing

Grammarly offers three plans: a free plan that has limited features, a premium plan that offers the full package. However, its premium plan is expensive, but it’s the only plan which offers all of Grammarly’s best features.

Here is table with the main differences and similarities between all plans:

Pricing Free Plan Premium plan Business Plan

$0/month $12/month annually, $20/month quarterly, $30/month monthly $15/month monthly

Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation Yes Yes Yes

Tone Detection Yes Yes Yes

Tone Suggestions No Yes Yes

Full Sentence Rewrites and Formatting No Yes Yes

Plagiarism Detecting No Yes Yes

Word Choice and Sentence Variety No Yes Yes

Style Guide and Brand Tone No No Yes

Expert Writing Help No Yes Yes

Analytics Dashboard and Account Roles No No Yes

SAML Single Sign On No No Yes

If you’re planning to try the Grammarly premium plan, paying the annual subscription would be your best option. It’d cost you $12 a month, while if you decide to pay monthly, you’ll pay more than double that.

You can also make use of Grammarly’s 7-day free trial before you pay. It’ll allow you to try Grammarly’s features and decide whether you want to proceed. However, you will need to add your credit card to do so, but you won’t get credited until the trial ends.

Pros and Cons: Is Grammarly a Good app?

👍 Pros 👎 Cons

Grammarly offers multi-platform support. You can integrate it into Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Outlook for real-time proofreading. It occasionally gives inaccurate suggestions, so it still can’t replace a human editor.

It lets you determine the document’s writing style (academic, creative, etc.) to give you accurate suggestions The premium plan is a bit costly

Plagiarism checker tool is highly useful for bloggers. In MAC, it doesn’t support apps downloaded from Apple App store and apps built with Electron 11 or lower

Most basic features are available in the free plan.

Grammarly Alternatives

If you’re unsure about Grammarly, you can always try its alternatives and see for yourself whether it’s the best option. The two most popular Grammarly alternatives are ProWriting aid and Linguix.

Here’s a brief rundown of both:

ProWritingAid checks your content and gives you 24+ reports for it. These reports include checks for grammar, overused words, readability, writing style, and more aspects.

It offers a free plan, and it comes with browser extensions and applications, so you can use it anywhere.

It’s also quite affordable, starting at $10/month for the premium plans. However, ProWriting Aid has a major downside: its free version of Grammarly only checks 500 words at once.

Linguix offers the most basic features, like proofreading, sentence rephrasing, and grammar checking. On top of that, it has a built-in plagiarism detector, and it offers an application for iOS and Android devices.

If you want something similar to Grammarly but at a more affordable price, Linguix would be a good choice.

FAQ:

Yes, you can fully trust Grammarly. It’s used by millions of users globally, so it’s far from being a scam. Plus, the company only makes money through Grammarly premium subscriptions without selling any data.

Besides, the tool can’t access your passwords or any sensitive data you input, so it’s trustworthy.

No, Grammarly can’t replace a human editor because it sometimes fails to understand what a specific sentence means, and it doesn’t always understand the context of your sentences. It’s an ideal assisting tool, but it won’t work efficiently without human supervision.

No, Grammarly doesn’t steal your work through any of the different apps it offers. The company explicitly states that the users have full copyrights and duplication rights to their work, so it’s basically illegal for them to steal your work.

Moreover, any data used on Grammarly is encrypted, and it’s entirely removed if you decide to delete your account.

Summary

Grammarly’s free version is ideal for checking your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. However, if you want to take your writing a step further, you can subscribe to the premium plan.

It offers a plagiarism detector, rephrasing sentences, tone suggestions, and help from expert writers, which are all useful tools for content writers, researchers, professors, and social media writers.

If your work is writing-oriented, Grammarly will serve as a nice assistant for honing your writing skills and polishing your work.

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Are Online Certificates Worth It? How To Decide

blog / General When Are Online Certificates Worth It? 5 Questions to Ask

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Let’s face it—the way we do business is changing too fast for most of us to keep up. Professionals and organizations alike face complex challenges that require highly specific knowledge and skills, many of which can be hard to acquire on the job. 

But gaining that knowledge through traditional channels, like a graduate degree, requires a significant investment of time and money. 

That’s where online certificate programs come in.

What is an online certificate?

Online certificates are credentials earned through virtual academic programs. Compared with degree programs, they are typically shorter and more targeted, focusing on developing specific skills and lasting weeks to months rather than years. This condensed format generally comes with a much lower price tag than a degree. 

For many professionals, certificate programs hit the sweet spot of practicality, affordability, and flexibility. For organizations, they provide an opportunity to upskill or reskill employees quickly and effectively.  

Is an online certificate right for you?

While online certificates offer a great opportunity to grow your skills, they may or may not be the right choice for your specific situation. Here are five questions to ask to make that determination.

1. What are your goals?

Aiming to take on new responsibilities, get a promotion, or switch roles? Consider what qualifications you need. Talk with colleagues or members of your network who are in similar roles to learn what skills are essential to their day-to-day responsibilities. If you plan to apply for stretch positions, online certificates show that you’ve taken the initiative to gain crucial knowledge.

Certificates are also valuable for professionals whose roles have changed due to emerging technologies or shifts in business practices. They provide a targeted opportunity to gain comfort and expertise with new tools and strategic approaches.

2. Is a degree program or a certificate a better fit?

While many top universities offer both online certificates and online degrees, the two are very different undertakings. 

Online degree programs:

Usually 2-4+ years 

Have a high weekly time commitment (often 20+ hours a week)

Can cost tens of thousands of dollars

Focus on a broader field

Online certificate programs:

Range from weeks to months

Have a lower weekly time commitment (Emeritus courses average 8-10 hours)

Have lower fees

Offer a narrower focus 

Whether a degree program or a certificate is right for you will depend on your field and goals. Some companies may require a specific master’s degree or scope of knowledge beyond what certificate programs offer. 

But for many roles, a master’s is not required and may not deliver the return on investment (ROI) to justify its higher cost and time commitment. Plus, many degree programs focus more on theory than on application. In these cases, a specialized certificate designed for professionals may be a better fit. 

It’s no surprise then that the popularity of certificates is soaring—in fact, they now make up 22% of postsecondary credentials. 

3. Is online learning right for you?

In addition to on-campus programs, certificates are widely available in virtual and hybrid formats. According to our research, more than three-quarters of learners would consider a course that is at least partially digital. However, the virtual environment has pros and cons.

The students most likely to thrive in online certificate programs are self-motivated, organized, and comfortable engaging digitally. The format is also well-suited to learners whose job commitments and personal life make full-time, in-person program attendance a challenge. Plus, online learning removes travel expenses from the equation.

On the other hand, students who struggle to maintain focus in a digital environment or prefer in-person interaction may be better served by an on-campus certificate program.

4. What is the ROI of an online certificate?

Are online certificates worth it for you or your team? While a specific certificate’s ROI is influenced by field and program, Forbes reports that certificates generally lead to a 13-25% salary boost. For many professionals, that means earning back the cost of the certificate dozens of times over. 

Online certificates are also a valuable networking opportunity. Since many offerings attract global professionals from a wide range of industries, they provide the rare chance to engage with potential future colleagues you may have never met otherwise.

5. Which online certificate is most valuable for you?

But how do you know which online certificate is worth getting? 

Once you’ve identified the skills that you’re hoping to develop, actually deciding on a program can be a challenge. Key questions to ask include:

Is the certificate associated with an accredited university?

Generally speaking, a certificate from a program conducted with a respected, accredited university will carry more weight than a certificate from an unaffiliated company.

Who is teaching the course?

Look up the course instructor to ensure they have specific academic or professional expertise in the field. 

Does the program curriculum cover what you hope to learn?

Ensure the program delivers the content you need to meet your goals, like training in coding languages or social media programs.

What are the program’s fees?

Fees can vary significantly between certificate programs; compare options to identify a certificate that fits within your personal or professional development budget.

What is the program’s expected time commitment, and is the schedule flexible?

Will you realistically be able to manage the program’s workload in the time allotted? Is the program flexible enough to accommodate your work and personal schedule? Emeritus programs on average require an 8-10 hour per week commitment, but programs may vary significantly in their workload. 

By Rachel Hastings

Planning Your Next Steps

Emeritus offers online certificates to reskill and upskill within your organization in fields ranging from data science to innovation and design thinking. All our certificate programs are delivered in collaboration with leading professors from the world’s top universities, ensuring your employees emerge with skills and knowledge to set them apart. Get in touch with Emeritus to learn more.

Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock Review: Premium Price, Okay Value

Pros

Solid design

Favors legacy USB-A ports, but with USB-C options

Cons

Premium price

Only one display port: Thunderbolt

You’ll likely need to buy additional cables

Occasional connection issues

Smartphone charging port is mediocre

Our Verdict

Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock was likely designed with the Mac market in mind, but this compact premium Thunderbolt dock offers quite a lot. Rivals may deliver more value, however.

Best Prices Today: Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock

A few Thunderbolt docks trace their lineage to the Mac world, where direct Thunderbolt display connections are more common than the HDMI or DisplayPort ports of the Windows ecosystem. Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock falls into this category, with three upstream Thunderbolt 4 connections in addition to a handful of USB ports.

This might be a problem for a Windows laptop, as Thunderbolt displays are somewhat rare and generally more expensive. Without one, you’ll need to match the ports on your monitor with an intermediary cable. That means purchasing an additional USB-C (Thunderbolt) to HDMI cable or two, which will cost an extra $20 or so per cable.

Either way, you’ll likely be tacking a few extra dollars on top of the cost of Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock, a choice which other docks don’t force upon you.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best Thunderbolt docks to learn about competing products.

Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock measures 7.5 inches long by 3.5 inches deep, with no vertical stand or mounting option. A 135W power brick delivers power to the dock, which then passes 96W of power to your laptop via a 31-inch Thunderbolt 4 cord that ships inside the box.

We’ve never run into a situation where a dock has overheated. Satechi’s dock didn’t break that trend, and the dock’s aluminum and plastic chassis dissipated heat just fine. There’s a small LED indicating when the device is powered on (white for power, yellow for powered and connected), but no power button.

The front of the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock, which scrimps a bit in terms of charging and SD card access.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock mounts a UHS-II SD card reader on the front of the dock, without a microSD option. Next to it is a single USB 2.0 5Gbps port, with BC 1.2 charging, which can deliver up to 7.5W of power. Unfortunately, the dock passed only 3.8W, which will charge a smartphone slowly. (On the other hand, you can always plug your phone into a free Thunderbolt 4 port on the rear of the dock, which transferred a hefty 12.2W, enough to fast-charge a smartphone.) The front of the Satechi Dock also includes a headphone jack, plus the USB-C port for the cable connection to your laptop.

Two Kensington security-lock ports are mounted on the side of the dock. On the rear, Satechi includes three 10Gbps USB-A ports, none of which deliver any power at all. There’s also a gigabit Ethernet port, the three upstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, and the power connector.

We chose to test the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock using a direct Thunderbolt connection to one 4K display, and an intermediary cable to another 4K display. Both took a few seconds to establish a connection, but did so. (We tried connecting to a third 1440p display using the third port, just to check, but the dock wouldn’t establish a connection, which is fine.) We consider establishing the two 4K connections, however, to be the standard.

You’ll have a few USB-A ports on the back of the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock to choose from, as well as three Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Mark Hachman / IDG

In our tests, we streamed 4K60 video from both online and offline sources, with very few dropped frames, including video played back from an external hard drive. We saw a few hiccups when playing back video from Netflix, and video streamed from Amazon Prime played back in a lower resolution than expected. After further tests, including a speed test that measured the performance of the dock’s Ethernet port, we concluded that it was the ISP, not the dock, at fault.

We did find, however, that this Satechi dock will occasionally disconnect, randomly, perhaps twice a day. We also experienced the same thing with a second, different Satechi dock, so perhaps it’s something with the internal design. It’s an irritating annoyance, though not catastrophic: The attached displays simply disconnected for a second or so, then reconnected. Nothing else seemed to change.

What we’ve come to find in our tests of both the best Thunderbolt docks and best USB-C hubs and dongles is that manufacturers aren’t afraid to mix and match ports and features. At press time, Plugable’s 5-in-1 Thunderbolt Hub was our pick for the best Thunderbolt hub—but it offers a lot less (for a lot less money) than the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock does.

If you don’t mind spending a bit more for additional features (and cables), Satechi’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock is a decent pick. Otherwise, you’ll find slightly more affordable options in our dock roundup, with dedicated display ports that should match your existing monitor.

Huawei Matebook 16S (2023) Review: Playing It Safe

Pros

Superb 16in touchscreen 

Great keyboard 

Solid CPU performance 

Good battery life

Plenty of ports

Cons

Still no discrete GPU 

No number pad or SD card slot 

No face unlock 

Expensive 

Our Verdict

A new Intel CPU is the only meaningful MateBook 16s upgrade compared to the 2023 model. It’s still one of the best big laptops you can buy, but familiar shortcomings remain.

While Huawei’s smartphone division continues to struggle in Europe, its laptops seem to be going from strength to strength. The company is still free to use Windows 11, and many MateBook devices are easy to recommend.  

That includes 2023’s MateBook 16s, which comfortably ranks as one of the best 16in laptops you can buy. But it wasn’t quite perfect, so what has Huawei changed on the follow-up? 

Sadly, almost nothing. Aside from a new Intel CPU, there are no other changes on the updated MateBook 16s. While that’s mostly a good thing, Huawei has failed to address the issues that prevent it from becoming best in class.

Design & build

Premium, minimalist design

Not particularly thin or light

Good range of ports

The MateBook 16s is a standout device in several ways, but design isn’t one of them. It’s the standard blend of grey aluminium and glass that Huawei has stuck with for a while, but I can understand why it isn’t switching things up.  

However, my main frustration is the continued lack of colour options. If you don’t like Space Grey, you’re out of luck. Why is it only the MateBook X Pro that gets exciting colours?

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

At 1.99kg, the MateBook 16s isn’t the most lightweight laptop. But it doesn’t weigh as much as the MacBook Pro 16, and remains portable enough to take almost anywhere with you. 

The LG Gram 16 (1.29kg) and Gram Style (1.25kg) have set new weight standards for 16in laptops, but there’s no need for most people to pay extra simply for a device that’s a bit lighter. 

However, if you are used to smaller laptops, the MateBook 16s will feel both big and bulky. A thickness of 17.8mm certainly contributes to that, but it has two other benefits: plenty of room for ports, and an durability you often don’t get with so-called ‘ultrathin’ devices. 

The MateBook 16s wouldn’t look out of place in a boardroom, student backpack or anything in between

The laptop has a tough hinge, which feels like it could comfortably last for years of use. Unlike many laptops, there’s also minimal wobble when typing on a flat surface. 

Huawei has also made the most of the extra space for ports. While only one of the MateBook 16s’ USB-C ports supports Thunderbolt 4 (for fast charging, quick data transfer and external display support at the same time), it’s joined by two USB-A, one HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Unless you plan on connecting lots of accessories at the same time, you’ll probably only need an adapter or dongle for an SD card. When some laptops are limited to USB-C, it’s hard to complain about the selection here. 

Screen & speakers

Excellent 16in LCD display

Touchscreen, but no high refresh rate

Great front-facing speakers

With such a large display, there wasn’t much margin for error on the MateBook 16s. Fortunately, Huawei has delivered one of the best screens you’ll find on any 16in laptop. 

Opting for IPS LCD rather than OLED is often seen as a compromise, but it doesn’t feel like one here. You’re certainly not missing out on deep blacks or rich, vibrant colours that are the usual strengths of an OLED. This is a fine LCD.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Everything I used the MateBook 16s for looked fantastic, from social media photos and YouTube videos to video calls and online articles. Content really comes alive on this large screen.

But colour accuracy benchmarks don’t necessarily reflect that. In testing, I recorded 97% of the sRGB colour gamut, yet only 75% of AdobeRGB and 74% of P3. That’s nothing special, but colours on the MateBook 16s look better than the figures suggest, so I’d still be happy using it daily.

It’s also worth noting the high 2560×1680 resolution, which means all content looks very clear and crisp. The tall 4:3 aspect ratio takes some getting used to, but allows more information to be displayed on screen than a traditional 16:9 widescreen. 

Huawei has delivered one of the best screens you’ll find on any 16in laptop

Touch support isn’t the most important feature on a laptop of this size, but I was surprised by how much I used it. Even without convertible functionality, tapping on the screen just beats using the trackpad sometimes. It’s a nice feature to have. 

However, there is one other premium feature you won’t find on the MateBook 16s display: a high refresh rate. You’re limited to 60Hz here, although the effect is nowhere near as noticeable as on a smartphone. Moving between apps and menus still feels smooth and responsive. 

The only other aspect of the display to mention is brightness. I recorded a respectable maximum of 500 nits, but that doesn’t mean outdoor visibility is good. As it’s a large display that’s also highly reflective, it can be difficult to make out what’s on the screen if the sun is out. 

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

As soon as you open the MateBook 16s, you’ll notice where the audio is coming from. There are large speakers on either side of the keyboard, meaning sound is directed towards you. 

It’s rare to see laptop sound prioritised like this, but it’s worth it. Both music and sound effects are impressively rich and full-bodied, complete with a nice hit of bass. Meanwhile, podcasts and other voice-based content sounds clear and crisp, with both avoiding distortion at high volumes. 

Keyboard, trackpad & webcam

Full keyboard, no separate number pad

Large, precise trackpad

Solid 1080p webcam and fingerprint sensor

The size of the MateBook 16s means there’s plenty of room for a full-size keyboard. However, as a result of the speaker placement, you’ll have to do without a separate number pad. It’s rare to see the feature missing on a big laptop, especially when the cheaper MateBook D 16 includes it. 

This isn’t a big deal, though. I very rarely use the number pad, so much prefer to see audio prioritised. Even if the former is much more important to you, its omission shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. 

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

The keys feel good to type on and are quiet when tapped. A traditional layout makes it easy to get used to, even if you’re used to smaller laptops. I was back typing at my usual speed within a few minutes. 

The row of function keys double as quick settings, including the option to adjust the amount of backlighting. While there are only two levels to choose from, you can still comfortably type in a range of different lighting conditions. However, it’ll only turn on when you start typing, with no option to keep it on permanently.

But while Windows 11’s core range of gestures are supported, it lacks the haptic feedback you’ll find on the MateBook X Pro. You miss out on extra controls for the likes of volume, brightness, screen capture and closing open windows as a result, but existing shortcuts already work for all of these. 

The power button can be found in the top-right, just above the speaker grille. It doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which is easy to set up and fast and reliable. It’s one of the better sensors I’ve tried. 

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

I’m glad it works so well, as there’s no other alternative to entering a PIN or password. The 1080p webcam is missing a separate IR sensor for face unlock, which is disappointing for a laptop at this price. 

The quality of the front-facing camera goes some way to making up for it. The Full HD video it produces offers plenty of detail and vibrant colours, even if exposure can be a struggle.  

It makes the MateBook 16s a good option for virtual meetings, especially when combined with the crystal-clear dual mics. For casual use, you won’t need any separate accessories. 

Specs & performance

Intel Core i9-13900H and 16GB of RAM

Great CPU performance, but no discrete GPU

1TB SSD

Unusually for Huawei, the only MateBook 16s configuration available in the UK has very high-end specs. 

It’s powered by Intel’s Core i9-13900H, one of the most powerful processors in its latest (at the time of writing) 13th-gen range. Alongside a generous 16GB of RAM, you’re getting some of the best CPU performance of any 2023 laptop. 

I tested the MateBook 16s across all my usual daily tasks, including web browsing, word processing, watching videos and some photo editing. Throughout all my time with the device, there was no slowdown or hesitation whatsoever. 

This is a laptop that’s designed for general productivity, plus some light content creation. With Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics rather than a discrete GPU, demanding tasks such as 4K video editing or 3D modelling are generally out of reach. I also wouldn’t recommend it for anything more than casual gaming. 

It’s difficult to push the device close to its limits during everyday tasks

On a device that costs this much, the lack of top-tier performance is frustrating. While not technically designed for it, such a premium laptop should be able to do more. 

Still, as the benchmarks show, it remains one of the most powerful 16in consumer laptops you can buy: 

One benefit of only selling a high-end configuration is that there’s plenty of storage – 1TB, to be exact. That’s more than enough for most people, especially as you won’t be downloading many big gaming files. 

There’s nothing much to report when it comes to connections, with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Neither are the absolute latest and greatest, but more than good enough for many years to come. 

Battery & charging

84Wh battery

Solid, all-day battery life

135W charging still not the fastest

Huawei hasn’t increased the MateBook 16s battery capacity, but battery life has improved. While the 84Wh cell is unchanged, the improved power efficiency of the 13th-gen Intel CPU appears to be behind the progress. 

In our 720p video loop test, it lasted 13 hours and 46 minutes – an above average result. Compare that to last year’s model, which ran out after 12 hours and 6 minutes, and it’s a significant gain.  

You’re looking at about a full day of typical usage before needing to reach for the charger

While you could get it to last even longer with battery saver mode turning on at 20% (the default setting), there are some key caveats here. The brightness was set to 120 nits, lower than is typical for most people. It also doesn’t include the extra power drain of playing audio or switching between more intensive tasks. 

In reality, you’re looking at about a full day of typical usage before needing to reach for the charger. An eight-hour workday is well within reach, but not too much more. Standby time is solid, though, so it can stretch to three or four days if you only use it in the evenings. 

When you do run out, there’s a 135W USB-C charger included in the box. This sounds impressive, but speeds aren’t the fastest. I recorded 33% in 30 minutes, with a full charge taking between 2-2.5 hours. While the battery capacity is bigger than average, I was still hoping for better. 

You can use either USB-C port for charging, but only the one on the right supports Thunderbolt 4

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Software

Runs full Windows 11 Home

Only a few extra Huawei apps

Easy to ignore if you don’t want to use them

Huawei has big software problems when it comes to phones in the UK and mainland Europe, but not with its laptops. The MateBook 16s run a full version of Windows 11, an experience that many will now be familiar with. 

Fortunately, the company hasn’t diluted this with much software of its own. In fact, there are only three apps in total, all of which serve a specific purpose. Control Panel offers quick access to a range of settings, while PC Manager and Mobile Cloud are focused on sharing data with other Huawei devices. 

Huawei’s Mobile Cloud app

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

If you own a Huawei phone or tablet, there’s some powerful functionality here. But if you don’t, all three are easy to hide and forget about. Unlike some other Windows 11 laptops, there’s no extra pre-installed antivirus software or other apps that keep bugging you. 

There’s no extra pre-installed antivirus software or other apps that keep bugging you

Price and availability

There’s only one model of the MateBook 16s in the UK. It combines the Core i9-13900H processor with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, but will set you back £1,499.99. 

Huawei is currently offering a free pair of FreeBuds 5 wireless earbuds with all purchases, which would usually cost £139.99. But like all Huawei products, the laptop isn’t available in the US. 

That pricing puts it up against some of the very best laptops you can buy.

The LG Gram 16 (from £1,299) and Samsung’s Galaxy Book 3 Pro (from £1,349) are the most obvious 16in alternatives, with Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 (from £2,699) significantly more expensive. Meanwhile, Huawei’s own 2023 MateBook D 16 (from £749.99) is a more affordable option.

The MateBook 16s isn’t bad value for money, but it certainly doesn’t come cheap.

Verdict

Huawei’s updated MateBook 16s remains an excellent 16in laptop, but not much has changed compared to last year. 

In fact, the only upgrade is a new 13th-gen Intel CPU. While performance and battery life are noticeably improved as a result, it still lacks the dedicated GPU required for top-tier graphical output. 

Power efficiency is behind the battery life gains, with no changes to the capacity or mediocre charging speeds. There’s also still no face unlock, SD card slot or separate number pad. 

But I’m also hesitant to be too harsh here. The 16in touchscreen, keyboard and port selection are all excellent, while the minimalist design looks great in almost any situation. Its webcam and audio are impressive, too. 

All that means the 2023 MateBook 16s is a great laptop that will serve many people well. But it could’ve been even better. 

Specs

254.9 x 351 x 17.8mm  

1.99kg  

16in 2.5K IPS display (3:2 aspect ratio, 2520 x 1680)  

Full-size keyboard with backlighting  

1080p webcam  

Large glass trackpad  

Front-firing stereo speakers  

Fingerprint power button  

Intel Core i9-13900H 

Intel Iris Xe graphics  

16GB LPDDR5 RAM  

1TB SSD 

Wi-Fi 6 

Bluetooth 5.2 

2x USB-A 3.2 

2x USB-C (1 Thunderbolt 4) 

1x HDMI 

1x 3.5mm audio jack  

84Wh battery with 135W USB-C charger  

Wi-Fi 6E  

Bluetooth 5.2  

Windows 11 

Nokia 6.1 Plus Camera Review: Is It Any Good?

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is official and it’s the first Nokia phone with a notch. The phone comes in at a price of Rs. 15,999 and is obviously competing against phones like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and the Mi A2. Nokia has opted to go with a dual 16MP + 5MP shooter on the back, along with a 16MP selfie camera with the phone, and that sounds good on paper, but does it stack up against the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2?

Nokia 6.1 Plus Camera Test: Specifications

Before we take a look at how the Nokia 6.1 Plus performs in real life, let’s take a quick look at the hardware the phone packs. The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with a dual 16MP f/2.0 + 5MP f/2.4 rear camera with support for 4K videos, EIS, and Portrait Mode. On the front, the phone comes with a single 16MP shooter. There’s a Portrait Mode on the front as well, and the phone also brings in Nokia’s very own Animoji-clone, although there’s currently only one in the phone. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the Nokia 6.1 Plus is capable of.

Rear Camera Performance

First let’s talk about how the phone’s primary camera set up fares in real world usage. Since the major competition here is the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2, I’m also comparing the camera performance of the Nokia 6.1 Plus against the performance of those two phones.

Good Lighting Conditions

In good lighting situations, the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ camera performs decently good enough and personally, it looks a tad better than the Nokia X6 with the China ROM in it. Photos come out with a good amount of detail, and a nice overall color balance.

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Low Light Conditions

In low light things don’t look so good for the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone tries to capture more light, and for the most part it succeeds, but it also ends up losing focus most of the time, and photos turn out really soft and noisy.

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The Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 definitely fare better in low-light conditions. Keep in mind that these phones are nothing magical in low-light, but they are a lot better than the Nokia 6.1 Plus and definitely impress with the way they handle focus, noise, and capturing enough light in a shot.

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I was particularly happy with the Mi A2 in low light since it performs at par with the Redmi Note 5 Pro in most situations, and sometimes fares even better.

Portrait Mode

The rear portrait mode on the Nokia 6.1 Plus is decent. It’s nothing special, but it’s not bad for sure. The background blur here is adjustable, and I personally find it to work best when set to around 50% blur. I mean, you could go higher, but then things start to look really unnatural; that 50% blur point usually turns out more like a DSLR-shot than any other blur-settings on the phone.

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Front Camera Performance Good Lighting Conditions

Moving on to the front camera, the story remains pretty much the same. The 16MP shooter on the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a decently good enough camera in good lighting situations and pictures turn out nice, with great color balance. However, the front cameras on the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 are simply better. There’s no other way to put it, both the Xiaomi phones end up overshadowing the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ front camera in good lighting conditions. The photos have more light, more detail, better exposure, and are just overall much better than the selfies you’ll get from the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

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Low Light Conditions

In low light, the front camera on the Nokia 6.1 Plus suffers from issues similar to the ones we’ve seen with the rear camera in similar lighting. While the phone does try to capture light, it simply can’t handle low light all that well. Photos turn out dark (usually), with weird lighting, and details are all but gone here. Also, there’s quite a bit of noise in the shot. Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 once again fare better than the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The photos from these phones are not exceptional by any means, but they are definitely a lot better than what you’ll get from the Nokia 6.1 Plus. They capture more detail, more light, and usually balance the highlights and the shadows pretty well.

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Portrait Mode

The front portrait mode on the Nokia 6.1 Plus is, once again, decent enough until you start comparing it to the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2. If you do that, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is definitely the runt of the litter. Photos from the Nokia 6.1 Plus look decent enough, but the portrait shots from the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 are quite obviously better.

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Videos

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with support for shooting 4K videos, something that the Redmi Note 5 Pro is incapable of. The phone also comes with EIS for stabilisation and in my usage I found that the EIS on the Nokia 6.1 Plus is good, but it can be pretty aggressive at times. Simply put, if there’s a lot of shake in the video, the EIS kicks in really hard and the entire video looks like it’s vibrating.. that’s like an extreme case of the weird stutter issues that EIS stabilised videos suffer in fast panning shots.

Animojis

The Nokia 6.1 Plus also brings along Nokia’s very own implementation (read ‘clone’) of Animojis that we first saw in the iPhone X. The 6.1 Plus currently has only one Animoji in the camera app and it’s a dragon, I think. To be honest, Nokia’s implementation here is way better than what we’ve seen from companies like Samsung with their AR Emojis. It’s nowhere near as good as the Animojis on the iPhone X, obviously, but at Rs. 15,999, I’m not complaining about this.

Nokia 6.1 Plus Camera Review: Nothing Special

Over all, the cameras on the Nokia 6.1 Plus (Rs. 15,999) are nothing special and while I wouldn’t go as far as to call them all bad, they definitely don’t even come close to the competition in situations like low light. The Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 both have cameras that perform far better than the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ cameras. Basically, if camera quality is an important metric to you, I’d not recommend the Nokia 6.1 Plus. That said, I do hope that HMD Global can improve the cameras with software updates. Fingers crossed.

An Apple Credit Card Review: Is It A Good Deal?

Apple has created a credit card. For people who mainly think of Apple as a computer (or phone) company, this might be a surprise. However, Apple isn’t so much a technology company as it is a brand that sells a particular viewpoint on how things should look, feel and work. So, in principle, an Apple credit card isn’t all that strange. Apple believes they’ve reinvented the traditional credit card but is it a good deal in real life?

We took a hard look at what the Apple credit card offers on paper and scoured sites like Reddit and social media to get a feel for the day-to-day troubles people have run into using this Titanium card. 

Table of Contents

So if you’re tempted to get in on the shiny new (card-shaped) thing from Apple, read this first to make sure you know what you’re in for.

Apple Credit Card: What’s the Deal?

Why should anyone want to have an Apple credit card instead of a traditional card from established banking institutions? There are a few core value propositions the Apple credit card brings to the table that can be summarized as follow:

Total integration and dependence on iPhone

Integration with Apple Pay

Clear and intuitive dashboard for payments and interest

Very favorable interest rates (if you can get them)

Cashback (with higher rates for Apple and partners)

Interest-free terms on Apple devices

Apart from that, the physical card itself is a typical Apple piece of engineering. Minimalist and made from titanium, the card is unlikely to ever wear out. However, in this article, we don’t care about the physical card, but rather the deal as a whole. So let’s discuss these value propositions in more detail.

iPhone Integration (For Better or Worse)

One unique aspect of the Apple credit card is its reliance on the iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can’t get an Apple credit card.

The card itself is just an extension of a digital wallet system that exists on your phone. It has no credit card number on it and is virtually blank. The physical card essentially gives you a way to pay if Apple Pay is not available. This means getting 1% cash back instead of 2%. Sure, the titanium card is gorgeous and cool, but it’s not the point at all.

The Interest Advantage of the Apple Credit Card

Apple says that their card is different since it incentivizes you to pay less interest. This seems a little counterintuitive because credit card companies make money from the interest you pay on your borrowed credit.

Apple has gone out of its way to show you exactly when and how to pay to avoid interest on your outstanding balance. You also only pay for the portion of the balance you elect not to pay. This isn’t all that different from how most credit cards work. If you borrow money from a credit card over short periods and pay it back within a certain time frame you don’t accrue any interest.

The main difference here is Apple shows you the numbers that let you minimize interest payments, rather than keeping those hidden out of sight.

The Apple credit card is notable for more than just how transparent it makes interest calculations. Apple is also offering some of the lowest interest rates in the market for a cashback credit card. 

While your potential interest rates are pretty low overall, how close you get to the lowest possible interest rate will depend on your credit rating and the algorithm that Apple uses to determine card limits and interest rates.

Cashback Rewards

Speaking of cashback rewards, Apple has a rather unbalanced solution in place. If you buy Apple products or make Apple Pay purchases from partners, the cashback rewards are substantial. If you buy things outside of this partner network, there are cards out there that offer better returns on average. 

So whether the Apple credit card is a good deal strongly depends on whether you’re a frequent Apple customer, use Apple Pay regularly, or shop at retailers who are part of their partner network.

The Apple Gadget Advantage

If we’re being honest, one of the main reasons that Apple likely came up with their credit card is so that they can sell more Apple stuff to people. Since you need to own an iPhone to have the card, only people who are already in their ecosystem will qualify. 

Apple offers to sell you Apple products using their card at no interest at all. In other words, you’re getting your Apple gadgets at the cash price, but on a payment plan. Not all products are eligible and the maximum repayment period varies, with 24 months being the longest possible.

The Goldman Sachs Connection

While the card is boldly emblazoned with the iconic Apple logo, you’re probably not surprised to hear that Apple hasn’t become a completely independent financial institution. Their card is backed by Goldman Sachs. 

While there’s nothing wrong in principle with this move, anyone who is considering applying for their card should know who they are doing business with. There have been stories in the media raising privacy concerns and potential issues of discrimination by algorithms when it comes to determining interest rates. 

If you aren’t happy with how Goldman Sachs does business, then you won’t be happy to own an Apple credit card.

Who Is The Apple Credit Card Good For?

Let’s get the main issue out of the way first. If you aren’t already an iPhone user or someone who’s going to be sticking with the iPhone and the Apple ecosystem over the long term, the Apple card simply isn’t worth it. Sure, it has no annual fee, but in reality, the cheapest iPhone costs $400. So make of that what you will.

Since you’d have to first invest in an iPhone, which isn’t cheap, the rewards don’t justify it. If you’re looking for a way to get your Apple fix for the best prices, the card becomes much more attractive. The interest-free payment plans on Apple gadgets are an amazing offer. You also get a further 3% cashback on repayments towards the device.

The same goes for Apple Pay purchases. If you’re already using Apple Pay in your daily life, then the card offers great benefits. If no one in your usual selection of retailers offers it, there’s little reason to use the Apple card.

Another issue that might be a problem for many people is the fact that Apple does not allow for more than one person to be authorized to use the card. So if you wanted a second card for a spouse or child, you’re out of luck without that person buying their own iPhone and applying for their own Apple credit card.

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